Thursday, March 5, 2015

Friend of Friends ~ The Slave Name Roll Project

(Miss Fiyah @Pinterest)

As a descendant of slaves, I have struggled to find information on my enslaved ancestors.  For me, this information has been hard to come by because slaves were rarely mentioned by name.  Even on the slave census schedules, you will mostly find the name of the slave owner with the slaves listed only by age and gender.  I know a few people who have been fortunate enough to come across a slave census that lists the names of their enslaved ancestors (lucky them).  Heck you might even get lucky like I did and find a mention of your ancestor in a newspaper article (Saw George Washington).  There are other documents such as wills or court records that list the names of the enslaved.   The one problem with that documentation is not every has access.   Thanks to a newly developed project that is about to change.  I am excited, honored and proud to introduce The Slave Name Project.

The Slave Name Roll Project, formulated by +Schalene Dagutis, is the result of an idea she had based on +Cathy Meder-Dempsey's three-part post about slaves listed in her ancestor's will.   The goal of this project is to make the names of the slaves and owners available to the descendants.  This accessibility will enable descendants find their ancestors through a search engine on the internet and perhaps break down a brick wall in their genealogy research.

The inspiration behind the Slave Name Roll is Cathy's post "Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1".  I find it fitting that Cathy's blog is titled Opening Doors In Brick Walls because it is through her three-part post that she will be "opening doors" for others.  Please take a minute to read her brilliant post (this series is in three parts).  She has done an amazing job researching and sharing valuable information/documents about her ancestors and the people they enslaved.

The creator of this amazing project Schalene is also the author of a great family history blog named "Tangled Roots and Trees".   Here is her post on the Slave Name Project.   It is because of her that so many people are now sharing their ancestors personal information.  Information that they may have kept hidden because they were ashamed to learn that their ancestors were slave owners.  These slaves deserved to known and through this project their names will be honored/documented and remembered for all to see.

Thank you. Schalene and Cathy for leading the way on this project.  I admire you both for having the courage to start this dialog.  You both wrote about slave owners in your family's history, a history that so many of us in this country share.  It is my hope that others who share that history follow your example and join this project.   The Slave Name Roll ensures the names of those enslaved will be remembered.  I am so excited about this project.

I cannot wait to hear about the first person who finds their ancestors and breaks through a brick wall.

The Waterloo Press in Waterloo_Indiana on Thu, Feb 22, 1912